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Slavery Studies (Online)

31 August 2024

15 JULY- 26 JULY 2024

Slavery is one of the most inhuman conditions we can imagine, yet it has always been widespread and is still common today. It has carved an ugly but distinctive contour in every period of history, and continues to define cultures, identities, and economies across the world.

Slavery Studies is a UWC short course that looks at slavery from a multi-disciplinary perspective, going beyond what is normally taught in the classroom. We aim to help students understand and navigate the subject of slavery in a way that is wide-ranging, historically accurate, academically up-to-date, and morally grounded. We believe that education is a vital tool in the global fight to end slavery and oppression, and this course is designed in close alignment with the UWC Mission Statement.

This 14-day online course will include case studies in both historical and contemporary slavery from around the world, with case studies from the Caribbean, India, the Middle East and Russia. Students will engage with perspectives from sociology, history, economics, literature, music, history, cultural and legal studies. There will be readings accompanied by online interactive commentary, followed by a daily online seminar discussion conducted by facilitators. Students will also be asked to complete small and structured research projects and be invited to do a larger research project at the end of the course. There will also be guest lectures and engagement from alumni.

This year, Slavery Studies is offered in collaboration with Survivor Alliance, a non-profit organisation who work to unite and empower survivors of slavery to become leaders in the anti-slavery movement. Key sessions will be led or facilitated by a life-experienced Survivor-Leader who is a member of Survivor Alliance, and 100% of the proceeds from the course will go to Survivor Alliance.

The course will include topics such as:

  • Can slavery be defined?
  • Should slavery be defined?
  • Philosophical, economic, and historical contexts.
  • How does historical slavery continue to affect people today?
  • What can be done to fight contemporary slavery?

Warnings about the course

The realities of slavery are brutal, and learning about them can be traumatic. Students who apply for this course should be ready to read about and discuss racism, gender, caste, and other forms of violent oppression, and be ready to take care of themselves at the same time. The course also asks students to think carefully about their choice of words. Students should be prepared to have their ideas and assumptions challenged. Apologists or pro-slavery perspectives will not be allowed.


Language of Course Facilitation: English 

Dates: 15 July - 26 July (held virtually from Monday to Friday)

Location: Online


Course Eligibility: We are looking for 10-20 motivated students from around the world to participate in the Slavery Studies course.

  • Be between the ages of 16-19 (15-year-olds will be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • Have a stable internet connection.
  • Have a fairly good reading and speaking level of English (fluency is not required, but we will be reading some academic texts in English).
  • Have an interest in justice and the humanities.
  • Be open-minded and willing to participate in meaningful dialogue.

Application Form: Fill out the form here

Application Deadline: 31 May 2024. 

Course Fee: $120 (USD)* (A limited number of scholarships are available. 2 full scholarships, 2 half scholarships, see page 3 of application form).

*100% of the proceeds from the course will go to Survivor Alliance